Monday, October 19, 2009

Isn't Taipei 101 magnificent?

I am proud of myself for holding out all day Sunday before I found out what the final score of the UT/OU game was. That's not to say it wasn't on the back of my mind the entire day, but I had enough cool stuff to keep myself occupied.

We had our big party Saturday night. It is three different teachers' birthdays this week and one of them rented this swank hotel room. We gathered in Taipei at the hotel and then went to this
gigantic club called Luxy.

It was so much fun.

And since we already had the hotel room, most of us stayed in the city and just slept on the couch, floor, etc. I put two chairs opposite each other and used a bathrobe as a blanket.

It was kind of like being in college again.

As I was walking to the MRT from the hotel, I started to cross over Shin-Yi Road when I noticed that I could actually see the very top of Taipei 101. For those of you who don't know, 101 is currently the tallest building in the world.

I've been itching to go — I love heights and crazy cool engineering projects like this — but every Sunday I either already had plans to do something or it was cloudy/raining. Obviously it would be stupid to go to the top of a ridiculously tall building when it's cloudy.

The point is to see things.

I spent so much time just walking around the observatory. In general I feel like going to the top of a high building is pretty much always the same. I mean, I've been to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. My work building in Arlington, Virginia was pretty tall (I had a view straight down the National Mall).

It's not the fact that the building is tall that's all that interesting to me. Though Taipei 101 being the tallest is neat, I honestly believe there is a point at which you can't tell that you're much higher. Especially in Taipei because there aren't very many tall building to begin with. If it were towering over all the other sky scrapers, that would be cool.

But it is a
different view than all the others and my isn't is beautiful. I love that it's this super dense urban environment, then a big green mountain and then more city. Taipei is a pretty unique city.

The other cool thing about tall buildings is the cool engineering stuff that goes into it. If you've been following along with me then you know that earthquakes and typhoons happen are a pretty regular occurrence here. That has got to be the first thing that pops into the mind of someone who says, "I'm going to build the tallest building in the world in Taipei."

The damper ball — the world's largest passive tuned mass wind damper (according to the 101 Web site) —weighs 660 metric tons and is 5.5 meters in diameter. It's huge. And the way it works is awesome.

It's essentially a big pendulum that sways back and forth — it has a clearance of 1.5 meters to do so — in order to level out the building during earthquakes or high winds. It's just a massive amount of steel strung up by even more steel (24 steel cables each 9cm in diameter) that keeps the gigantic bamboo-shaped steel from falling over.

The best things about the damper are the hilarious Damper Babies. In fact, this month they are celebrating the Damper Babies' sixth birthday.

See! The damper is the body and then you throw on some legs and arms and make the eyes and nose using "101."

They have four different Damper Baby personalities. Find out which one matches you best here.

1 comment:

  1. <3 the damper babies and that youre watching games on game tracker. i bought the UT season pass on yahoo radio so i could listen to them. it's hard to stay awake/pay attention though.

    miss you and everyone! miriam and i are trying to talk alex gholz into coming to visit us.